One of the most sensitive forms of AV installation is for historic churches, where the infrastructure for modern systems simply does not exist, and in many cases cannot be installed due to preservation requirements. Located outside Miami, Coral Gables Congregational Church is one such structure. Built in 1923 in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, this United Church of Christ house of worship has been on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places since 1978.
When the church decided to modernize its audio and video systems, they were aware of the challenges involved and brought in Dave Armstrong and Sound Planning to consult on the project. Based in Ft. Lauderdale, Sound Planning has a proven track record of working with historic worship spaces.
“This congregation has a real commitment to music, which they made very clear in our initial meeting,” notes Armstrong. “As soon as I saw the Bösendorfer grand piano in the sanctuary, I knew they were serious, and that the Electro-Voice EVA line-array system would be a perfect candidate for the main PA.”
A go-to EV solution for house of worship sound, EVA (Expandable Vertical Array) offers all the benefits of concert-type line arrays without their cost and complexity. Each EVA module comprises two array elements with a total of two 8” woofers and four 1.25” compression drivers mounted on Hydra waveform converters, reducing overall array size. EVA’s compact design also minimizes visual distraction, with clean lines and no visible rigging hardware. EVA modules are available in four fixed-angle configurations that can be combined in any order for precise and even coverage. EVA’s extraordinarily efficient crossover and driver design allows two full-sized arrays to be powered by a single amplifier, further adding to the cost and space savings. EVA has long been known for delivering balanced and musical sound without any external DSP except for room EQ. In addition, Electro-Voice recently released EVA speaker settings for Dynacord amplifiers that provide enhanced performance through multi-stage speaker protection and a slightly tailored midrange response. These settings are available for the full-range array cabinets and for EVA subwoofers.
Once the church finalized its direction, Sound Planning was among the firms invited to bid. Using design input directly from Electro-Voice, they proposed a single EVA array to cover the entire congregational seating area, which includes a balcony. “It’s not a huge space, so all we needed was one center-hung three-box EVA array – the equivalent of a six-box conventional system,” notes Armstrong. “We installed it among the exposed beams in the ceiling, with the lowest point 21 feet above the floor. The beams are dark wood, so the black cabinets and cabling hide well up there. There were no objections to the aesthetics.”
The array features three EVA-2082S elements with a progressive dispersion approach. For the long throw to the balcony, the top box has a tight 90° x 6° coverage pattern. The middle cabinet covers the back of the room with its 90° x 20° pattern, while the bottom module utilizes 120° x 20° dispersion to address the front pews. This covers the entire space evenly, with no front, down or side fills necessary. For contemporary music presentations, a rolling cart with one self-powered Electro-Voice EKX-15SP subwoofer is available for extra low-end support.
“The historic architecture remains unchanged, the EVA system looks and sounds fantastic, and the folks at Coral Gables Congregational Church are thrilled,” adds Armstrong.